3 Things to Remember When Responding to Customer Reviews
Responding to customer reviews can be tricky for business owners. Keep in mind, 79% of people trust online ratings and reviews as much as personal recommendations. If done correctly, responding to customer reviews can increase your business. On the other hand, responding poorly can discourage potential customers from visiting your business at all. One thing is certain: ignoring your reviews altogether does more harm than good. Here are three things to remember when responding to customer reviews.
Rule #1: Keep it simple. These are words to live by every day, and it certainly applies when you respond to consumer reviews. Your audience has a short attention span. The quicker you can get the message across, the more likely your customers will stop and listen. This applies to both positive and negative reviews.
When a customer says something great about your business, a simple yet sincere thank you will suffice. Don’t feel obligated to return the favor by offering a reward or gift certificate of any kind. This can create the impression that positive reviews aren’t something you are used to, which can be off-putting for someone who has never visited your business. It can also discredit the positive reviews written by other happy customers.
Likewise, a simple apology can go a long way when the review is negative. You don’t have to admit fault, but to sympathize with your customer for having a bad experience can show other customers that you care. This can also make the angry customer more likely to give your business a second chance. This leads us to the next rule.
Rule #2: Factor in the human element. By nature, we are emotional and unpredictable creatures. This is especially important to remember when dealing with a negative review. You are dealing with the most vocal and opinionated of your customers. Breathe and give yourself some time to cool off before responding to the review. Rather than adding fuel to the fire, spin the negative review into a positive by briefly mentioning the steps taken to avoid these situations in the future. If there are details in the review that really bother you, take the conversation offline by inviting them to call or visit your business. This will appear much more professional and is ultimately more effective than typing out a heated rant. Be polite; be sincere; be professional; and you will be okay.
Rule #3: Seize the opportunity to write fresh content. Search engines like Google can detect the level of activity on your business listings. By making a habit to respond to your customer reviews, this not only improves credibility in the eyes of your potential customers, but in the eyes of search engines as well. On that note, writing a response gives you an opportune time to integrate more keywords into your business listing. Responding to reviews regularly a) gives you the opportunity to build rapport with your customers, b) keeps your business listing active with fresh content, and c) improves your search engine ranking overall.
Win, win, win!